Hamilton Police warn businesses about ongoing ‘CEO’ scam

Police are warning Hamilton businesses about ongoing scams. Hamilton Police Service

Hamilton Police are alerting local businesses to an ongoing scam in which employees are duped into thinking their bosses need them to send large amounts of money abroad.

The Major Fraud Unit says it continues to see a rise in local businesses becoming victims of what is commonly known as the “Business Email Compromise” or “CEO Scam.”

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Investigators say while there are many variations of this scheme, the ones being reported to Hamilton Police typically involve the use of spoofed email addresses.

Police say employees of organizations responsible for finances or payments are being asked for a rush payment for what is described as an urgent business need.

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Police say in many cases the money that is sent abroad is almost impossible to get back.

Tips from Hamilton Police on protecting your business include:

  • Develop, implement and test robust practices/policies that involve internal prevention techniques at all levels. No-one is immune.
  • Use face-to-face or voice-to-voice communications to verify transactions. Walk into the CEO’s office or speak directly by phone. Don’t rely on e-mail alone.
  • Limit what is posted on social media and company websites, especially job duties and descriptions, hierarchal information and out-of-office details.
  • Employ two-factor authentication; have secondary sign-off for payments, especially significant ones.
  • Be suspicious of requests for secrecy or pressure to act quickly.
  • Consider registering all company domains slightly different than the company’s actual domain.